You often hear the word “terroir” when speaking about wine. It means more than just the soil or Earth. It’s really all the environmental factors, like yes, the soil, but also the climate and the elevation for example. Many characteristics of a wine are shaped by its terroir and that’s one of the many reasons we love wine. Wine is like bottling up a taste of a place, a “goût de terroir.” We are sharing three beautiful terroir driven wines with you this month.
P. & E. Mullins
“Real wine is more than an alcoholic beverage. When you taste one from a noble terroir that is well made, that is intact and alive, you think here is a gift of nature, the fruit of the wine eked out of our earth, ripened by our sun, fashioned by man.”
2019 Bastide du Claux Barraban
In Western Provence is Luberon National Park, it is full of beautiful hillsides making their way up to Luberon Mountain. The Bastide du Claux vineyards sit on hillsides of clay, silt, sand, and limestone facing Southwest and Northwest about 1400 feet above sea level. The climate is dryer and cooler there which leads to a longer growing season and a later harvest. The vineyards are maintained with organic practices and worked by hand. Fermentation is spontaneous with indigenous yeasts. The predominant blend of this white is Rolle (more commonly known as Vermentino) and Grenache Blanc, there is also a medley of native varietals to the region, Clairette, Ugni Blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier. The wine is mostly aged in concrete and just a small portion in oak barrels before bottling. In the glass this wine is a light golden hay with a beautiful clarity. Aromas of cantaloupe, dried herbs de Provence and limestone are gentle but pretty on the nose. The palate is bright and balanced with a gorgeous depth and texture. The minerality is racy with a hint of grapefruit and dried thyme. Only 40,000 bottles produced.
2020 Vino Lauria Grillo
The winery of Vino Lauria is in Alcamo, about 30 miles west of Palermo on the Island of Sicily. It’s history dates to 828. The valley around Alcamo is surrounded with vineyards that range from 2000-3000 feet above sea level. The altitude brings a fresh vibrancy to the Grillo varietal which native to Sicily. The vines are planted in chalky, calcium rich soils, also known as calcareous. The climate here is Mediterranean, hot, and dry in the summer months and cold, grey, wet in the winter. This allows for the for the grapes to ripen with bright acidity and aromatics. Winemaker Vito Lauria is a master of organic farming practices, and his approach allows the wine to embody and showcase its terroir. This 100% Grillo is fermented cold in stainless steel. In the glass it’s a golden honey, reminiscent of liquid gold or perfectly rendered duck fat. The nose is aromatic with raw almond slivers, a bit of vanilla and sawdust. There is a hint of maraschino cherry that unexpectedly comes through on the back end. The palate is medium in body and the wine finishes tart and bright.
2019 Chateau de Chaintres “Clos des Oratoriens”
Saumur Champigny, Loire, France
For our monthly trip to the Loire Valley, we visit the Saumur-Champigny appellation. It has been mentioned that “Champigny” comes from the Latin phrase “campus igni” meaning “field of fire” due to the pocket microclimate of exceptionally warmer weather that happens there. The vineyards are located on plateaus of above the Loire River just West of Chinon. The soils are a medley of mostly limestone with chalk, clay, and sand. This 100% Cabernet Frac is one of the purest we’ve ever tasted. It’s elegant, yet rustic, its naturally farm-y chic. The fruit is all grown with biodynamic practices and organic methods right up to the bottling. There are no added sulphites. In the glass this is a lively elegant blackberry color. The nose is rich with stewed berries, white peppercorn, and the skin of charred red bell peppers on the grill. The palate is pure with savory notes reminiscent of tomato soup and dusty blackberry notes on the finish. It is earthy and dry but still lively with acidity. We recommend decanting this wine or opening it up a couple hours before serving.